Drills for Football Players to Make Them More Aggressive

Portrait of american football player holding a ball and running

Being aggressive in football is a sought-after quality in a player, because it means that the player has what it takes to make contact with another player without fear. It means the player will not hesitate and lose valuable reaction time even if he knows contact is imminent. This is not to be confused with playing with anger or reckless abandon. Aggression must be confined within the rules of the game, or it can cost you severely in late-hit and roughing the passer penalties.

Oklahoma Drill

The Oklahoma drill seeks to teach aggressive run blocking for offensive players and aggressive block shedding by defensive players. It also teaches the running back to aggressively cut and make moves to store at the goal line. The drill will pit wide receivers against defensive backs, o-lineman against d-lineman, running backs against linebackers and tight ends against any of the three defensive specialties. Two cones are spaced three to five yards apart forming a horizontal line parallel to the end zone. The distance between those two parallel lines is three yards. The quarterback will hand the ball off to the running back, who will attempt to run between the cones and score a touchdown. The opposing offensive and defensive players will either attempt to open running room for the back, on offense, or shed the block and tackle the back, on defense. The two competing players will battle for leverage and position to make their desired play.

Pass Rush Drill

This drill is designed to teach offensive lineman to protect the quarterback at all costs and train the defensive lineman to elude the protection efforts of the offensive player. The offensive center, guard or tackle will line up at their position respective to the “quarterback,” which may be either a live quarterback or a tackling dummy, and the defensive lineman will choose his stance based on the offensive player they are competing against and the technique they are working. For example, a defensive lineman may shade left or right of the edge of the lineman to work various hand techniques and swim maneuvers. The quarterback lines up five to seven yards from the center’s typical position. The quarterback will “hike” the ball, signaling the offensive and defensive lineman to compete to either protect or tackle the quarterback. If a live quarterback is present, a defensive lineman typically just two-hand touches the quarterback to prevent injury. If a tackling dummy is present, the defender should attempt to tackle the dummy to the ground.

Gauntlet Drill

This drill will effectively teach a running back to secure the football when running through defenders on the field. Players form two parallel lines about two to three yards apart with four players in each line. The running back lines up five yards away and in a direct path between the two lines. The quarterback hands the ball off to the running back, who will secure the football and sprint between the two lines. The running back’s shoulder cradles the ball high and tight, with two fingers “clawing” the point of the football with the middle of the ball wedged in between his forearm and bicep. The players in the two lines swat at the ball as the running back runs through. Their goal is to knock the ball loose.